Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Come To Believe

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Many Cultures, One Church

From our perspective today, we can see that the early missionaries of California were often too immersed in their own European culture to clearly see the richness of the culture they were entering. Unfortunately, evangelization was at times insufficiently distinguished from colonization, and, for this reason, many Native Americans blame the Church for the loss of their own culture and identity. To be global Christians today, we have to learn to see that the Good News of Jesus Christ lives in a multitude of cultural contexts, realizing that human messengers are never free from the cultural influences of their upbringing or the sociocultural attitudes of their day. But the lessons of the past oblige us to be humble in examining the beliefs and customs of others in order to bring Jesus Christ to a culture different from our own.

–from Saint Junipero Serra's Camino: A Pilgrimage Guide to the California Missions


"All the way to heaven is heaven, because Jesus said, 'I am the way.'"
— St. Catherine of Siena

"I was sure that it was better for me to give myself up to your love than to give in to my own desires. However, although the one way appealed to me and was gaining mastery, the other still afforded me pleasure and kept me victim. I had no answer to give to you when you said to me, 'Rise, you who sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ will enlighten you.' When on all sides you showed me that your words were true, and I was overcome by your truth, I had no answer whatsoever to make, but only those slow and drowsy words, 'Right away. Yes, right away.' 'Let me be for a little while.' But 'Right away—right away' was never right now, and 'Let me be for a little while' stretched out for a long time."
— St. Augustine, p. 152
Confessions of St. Augustine

"And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; but whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God."
Luke 12:8-9


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Saint of the Day for July 3

(1st Century – December 21, 72)

Poor Thomas! He made one remark and has been branded as "Doubting Thomas" ever since. But if he doubted, he also believed. He made what is certainly the most explicit statement of faith in the New Testament: "My Lord and My God!" and, in so expressing his faith, gave Christians a prayer that will be said till the end of time. He also occasioned a compliment from Jesus to all later Christians: "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed" (John 20:29).

Thomas should be equally well-known for his courage. Perhaps what he said was impetuous—since he ran, like the rest, at the showdown—but he can scarcely have been insincere when he expressed his willingness to die with Jesus. The occasion was when Jesus proposed to go to Bethany after Lazarus had died. Since Bethany was near Jerusalem, this meant walking into the very midst of his enemies and to almost certain death. Realizing this, Thomas said to the other apostles, "Let us also go to die with him" (John 11:16b).

Thomas shares the lot of Peter the impetuous, James and John, the "sons of thunder," Philip and his foolish request to see the Father—indeed all the apostles in their weakness and lack of understanding. We must not exaggerate these facts, however, for Christ did not pick worthless men. But their human weakness again points up the fact that holiness is a gift of God, not a human creation; it is given to ordinary men and women with weaknesses; it is God who gradually transforms the weaknesses into the image of Christ, the courageous, trusting, and loving one.

Saint Thomas the Apostle is the Patron Saint of:
Construction Workers


Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle

Reading 1 Eph 2:19-22

Brothers and sisters:
You are no longer strangers and sojourners,
but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones
and members of the household of God,
built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets,
with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.
Through him the whole structure is held together
and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;
in him you also are being built together
into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 117:1bc, 2
R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
For steadfast is his kindness for us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.

Alleluia Jn 20:29
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord;
blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 20:24-29

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord."
But Thomas said to them,
"Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."
Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you."
Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe."
Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."


Meditation: Ephesians 2:19-22

Saint Thomas, Apostle (Feast)

You are . . . members of the household of God. (Ephesians 2:19)

"Where did I come from?" The question seems to be ingrained in us. We make family trees, talk about our great grandparents, and pass down family recipes for generations. Now we can even find out about our genetic background, thanks to DNA mapping technology. Why is this quest for our history so important to us? Because it helps us understand who we are and how we fit into this world.

There's another aspect to this quest for self-discovery, even though we don't always recognize it. In addition to our genetic DNA, and our family and social DNA, we also have a spiritual DNA that is every bit as important. Who are the "members of the household of God" whose DNA has been passed on and influenced us (Ephesians 2:19)?

Today's feast of St. Thomas gives us a few answers. When Jesus chose Thomas to be one of his apostles, he may have sensed that Thomas would be filled with questions and doubts. If nothing else, he would have seen the signs during their time together. But none of Thomas' doubtful ways moved Jesus to reject him or ask him to leave. Thomas belonged, just as everyone else did.

In fact, Jesus even used Thomas' doubting to his advantage: as he invited Thomas to probe his wounds, he told all of his apostles—and all of us—"Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed" (John 20:29). Jesus seized on a perfect opportunity to explain our mission to bring everyone to faith in him—the doubtful as well as the self-assured.

Your "natural" DNA may make it easy or hard for you to believe. You may be a trusting soul, or you may tend toward skepticism. You may be meek or bold, flexible or stubborn. It doesn't matter. You are a spiritual descendant of all the saints: the doubting Thomas, the blustery Peter, the anguished Mary Magdalene, and the overly zealous Paul. Whoever you take after, Jesus treasures you. He has a vital role for you to play in his kingdom. Because you are made in his image, he is completely committed to you.

"Thank you, Jesus, for loving me as I am. Lord, come and make me more like you."

Psalm 117:1-2
John 20:24-29



The first Holy Word said "Through him the whole structure is held together
and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord". There was a pastor who said laminin shows up as a cross shaped molecular glue that holds the body together, physically. But what is important is the next verse, because Christ is the glue that holds us together: " him you also are being built together
into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit." This is the most important part of the first Word today. We are being built together in Him. We form a structure for Him to dwell in. He dwells in us when we allow Him. That's the only thing He can't do...force Himself in us. It is up to us to believe, or not.

Let us pray: "Go out to all the world and tell the Good News. For steadfast is his kindness for us, and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever." For a believer, we believe in going out to evangelize, to tell the Good News. We believe in the resurrection. We believe in His mercy. This is fidelity. This is supreme kindness to a sinner, and we need this glue, because it helps us believe.

In comes our Lord, and appears suddenly to the room full of apostles disciples: "Peace be with you." And to Thomas " "Put your finger here and see my hands,and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe." What is strange about this? It's as if Jesus was present with them a week earlier and heard Thomas say he wouldn't believe until he saw and touched for himself. How many in the world are like this? I'd say the majority identify with Thomas. Most want to see miracles. Most already believe in miracles. But why do we need "proof" ? Why do we need proof that God exists? Was His Word not enough? Is the world not enough evidence? Where have you looked for proof in the world? Did you go by what man said or what the Son of Man said? Did you go by man's scientific theory of proving materialism? Why didn't you try something more simple, in a controlled environment...your heart? All we've to do is look inside for Jesus. If He is not there, invite Him there. He will come gently, quietly, and not say much. Complete gentleness and humility. Most want to see signs across the skies or terrible acts of defying human nature. But that's not how God revealed Himself in Jesus. He was conceived, born in a stable, a manger, a place that wasn't a house for people but for animals. Treated like an animal all the way to death. How can we treat Him like that? How can we try to measure him with our silly tools? The world is not enough for Him, so He created another. Another universe is nothing to Him. Imagination is limited to what He can really do. We can't imagine tastes, sounds and sights He has in store. We can't really fathom eternity, it doesn't compute. We can't really imagine a world where there is no darkness because all we see here is darkness. But we can't see Jesus.
But some have.
And they tell us they seen Him.
Do you believe?

They touched Him. They hugged Him.
They cried at His feet.

They prayed with Him.
He fed them.
He healed them.
Do you believe?
He, in turn, was tortured to death.
Then, He rose, and hundreds saw Him, and dead rose from tombs.
He went up into the sky and disappeared. And then angels spoke. Evangelize and baptize.
They appeared and disappeared.
And He can hear.
And He is among us.
He hears our doubts. He hears our cries.
He is here.
Emmanuel. God with us.
Not against us.
If you have not seen Him, it is because you did not seek.
If you have not heard Him, it is because you did not allow Him to speak.
You were too busy crying, too busy talking, too busy screaming, just too busy.
I may have seen Him once vaguely, but I was in deep prayer.
I have heard him more than once, but I was in the deepest of prayer and silence.

Jesus was always said to have been praying.

Before the sun rose, the Son was up, in prayer.
When the sun set, the Son was praying in the garden.
Praying on the mountains, and praying in the desert.
There is where we can find Him.
Can you imagine what life would be like if you were always in prayer?
You may experience a glimpse of Heaven.
And the ultimate prayer in the world is Holy Mass.
A complete offering is happening. In the temple together.
Blessed are you for believing, for one day your eyes will feast on what no one else can see. And this will take you into an eternity with thee . . . .

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